Showgirls was panned by the critics universally when it first came out. The film was nominated for 12 Razzie awards, 6 of which it won, including Worst Picture and Worst Director. Paul Verhoeven went to pick up the awards himself, as a first in Razzie history.

However, a few years after the initial release, several critics including notable names such as Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian Martin wrote articles claiming that the initial reaction should be reconsidered and that the film actually holds up.

Showgirls was Paul Verhoeven's first self-proclaimed attempt at making a realist film about America, and the cut-throat competition of the Las Vegas show business can be seen as a reflection of Hollywood or the U.S.